Please remember that, although the public is welcome, this is private property, and permissions are granted only by the owner, Mary Jo Ballator. 

Historically, my yard has been a sanctuary for birders to study and view the birds of the Huachuca Mountains.  People who come to my yard do so for many reasons, not the least of which is to enjoy the peace and quiet to be found here.  Please keep voices low, and unnecessary conversations to a minimum.  All my guests as well as my close neighbors will appreciate your consideration. 

With the advent of digital cameras, the hobby of photography has grown rapidly, and increasing numbers of cameras, monopods and tripods have at times caused problems.  This yard offers a unique opportunity for viewing birds at very close range.  Moving around with photographic equipment at such close range often disturbs the birds and disrupts the birding experience for others.  It also increases wear and tear on this fragile desert environment.  This policy is intended to assure that everyone, birders and photographers alike, can have an enjoyable experience here, with unobstructed views of all the feeders in the feeding areas.  Flagrant abuse of the policy will result in your being asked to leave without a refund.  If  you are not sure about the rules, I am almost always around to ask.

Day Use Photography Policy

This policy governs day-use photography in the public area only; it does not apply to the area around the blind, which is reserved for an additional fee (see below).  Tripods used with spotting scopes, as long as the scopes are not being used for “digiscope” photography, are permitted for no additional fee.

  • Use of cameras without tripods/monopods: Permitted for your $10 per person per visit day-use fee.  Please use all cameras while seated, or while standing behind chairs. Taking photos while walking around the yard is not permitted. 
  • Use of cameras with tripods or monopods:  Permitted for your$10 per person per visit day-use fee plus a $20 fee for your tripod or monopod.  Use while seated, with tripod or monopod directly in front of you at chest level.  If you prefer to stand, you must do so behind the chairs, in designated spots.  Standing spaces are limited to designated areas. If in doubt, ask.
  • Photographers must stay in areas where there are paths and chairs.  
  • The use of flash is generally discouraged.  It disturbs other guests and me, as much or more than it disturbs the birds.
  • Do not move chairs without permission.  
  • Do not block paths with tripods. 
  • Feeders may not be modified, moved, added, or removed without permission.
  • Please respect my privacy when photographing near my house.
  • Feeding Station Hours:  Wednesdays noon to dusk. Dawn to dusk on all other days.  There are no  toilet facilities for day use.

Reserved Area (around the blind) Photography Policy

The area surrounding the blind may be used by advanced reservation only. The fee is $100.00 per person per day, or $75 per person per half-day (dawn to noon) with a limit of five people. The fee for the day includes unlimited use of the area in and around the blind, use of tripods/monopods in the blind area, and all admission fees for the day.You may also use the public area to photograph, subject to the Day Use Photography Policy as stated above. For half-day users, you will pay an additional $20 tripod fee if you wish to use your tripod in the rest of the yard after your time in the blind. Use of the Casita  for bathroom and kitchen facilities: $20 per half-day, $40 per full day, regardless of the number of people. 

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